On This Day: 8 September 1709

On this day in 1709, John Short wrote to Thomas Bowrey from Edinburgh. It is known from other correspondence that Short, of the Edinburgh Custom House, had underwritten the insurance on a ship (presumably belonging to Bowrey) and was related to Mr Justice Short of Clerkenwell Close, London. The Edinburgh connection implies that this insurance was connected to the case of the Worcester but it is not clear what was being insured.

In today’s letter, Short says that he has heard from John Spottiswood intimating that Bowrey was not happy with the contents of his previous letter. Short had previously written to Bowrey on 18 August and was to write again on 27 September. These three are the only surviving letters from Short in Bowrey’s papers. It would appear that Short had failed to honour the terms of the insurance. Short was denying any intension to defraud Bowrey.

Unfortunately, the third letter which was much longer and may have contained some sort of resolution, was damaged by mice during the time that the papers languished in the old chest at Cleeve Prior. Researchers with an interest in early insurance may be disappointed by this but it is a reminder of how lucky we are that any of Bowrey’s papers have survived. They have provided such a valuable source for researchers in a great many subjects.

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